The top two candidates for Palm Beach Zoo President have been chosen. They are Lewis the North American Black Bear and Mardi the American Alligator. Now, it’s up to Zoo visitors to decide who will lead the Zoo… for one day only, President’s Day.
Mardi easily won the primary election defeating the other four candidates with 27% of the vote. Lewis received 21%, narrowly beating Sully the North American River Otter by one vote and Noble Peace the Southern Bald Eagle by three votes. Washington the North American Panther received 15% of the vote.
Lewis came to the Zoo on May 25, 2001. He and his brother were orphaned as cubs in Maine and found a home at the Zoo with the help of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Lewis enjoys eating grapes, peaches, honey, and peanut butter. He also likes to play with his brother, Clark. The North American Black Bear is not endangered in the United States and is increasing in numbers in the wild.
Mardi arrived at the Zoo on June 8, 2007 from the Audubon Nature Institute in New Orleans, Louisiana. He’s one of only an estimated 18 white offspring rescued from a bayou. He has blue eyes and is considered leucistic not albino because his white skin is caused by a reduction in all types of skin pigment, not just melanin. American alligators are plentiful in Florida and are not considered endangered in the wild.
To cast your final vote, you must visit the Zoo on President’s Day, February 18, where you’ll be given a gold coin to place in a ballot box. Special keeper talks will also be held that day at 12:30 p.m. for Lewis the North American Black Bear and at 2 p.m. for Mardi the American Alligator. The winner will be announced after 5 p.m. on the Zoo’s Facebook page. Other President’s Day activities include a storyteller from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. and an additional Wings Over Water bird show at 3 p.m.